From the Grading Room: Changeover Pairs
Posted on 10/23/2012
Changeover Pairs (also called hold-over or cross-over pairs) are an interesting phenomenon that occurred during the early years of printing small sized notes (1928-1935) where either the change of series, signatures, mules, or varieties (such as narrow or wide face) does not interrupt the serial numbering. In such cases, the serial numbers do not reset back to A00000001A as one might think – but continues from the previous note. If the changeover occurs from a later series to an earlier series, then it is called a reverse changeover pair.
This process occurred because in these early days the BEP workers kept using old plates due to high engraving costs and because signatures were actually engraved into the plates even long after a signer had left office, or the plates would be used until they wore out or were retired. They would group together various face and back plates on the same press. After the first and second printing (where the differences of series would occur) the sheets would be cut and compiled into one stack. All that was left was the third printing which contained the serial numbers. The stack of partially completed notes would be numbered in sequence.
During this era notes were printed on sheets of twelve with two columns of six on each side numbered sequentially down the sheet where the first note would be odd and the last note would be even. The presses that were used could hold up to four plates so it was possible to get a changeover pair every six notes.
This process is not exclusive to just small sized notes. Changeover Pairs can and do exist with large notes as well. The process is very similar where the different plates are used during a consecutive run of notes. However, one is more likely to find a mule to non-mule changeover pair or a signature changeover pair in regards to the large sized notes.¹
PMG had the opportunity to grade a Changeover Pair that went from Fr-2054-E (Dark Green Seal variety) to Fr-2055-E (Mule variety). Pictured in the images above, one can see the changeover from a series 1934 Dark Green Seal to a series 1934A Mule. Both notes are from the Richmond district and are in sequential order. An interesting part of our nation's currency, changeover pairs give collectors something to seek out when looking at sequentially numbered notes.
¹Schwartz, John & Lindquist, Scott. (2011). Standard Guide to Small-Size U.S. Paper Money 10th Edition. Pg. 362-379.